Restaurants in Asheville Worth Visiting
We thought it would be useful to write a post on Asheville restaurants that we love to visit as locals. This list of the best restaurants in AVL covers everything from where we like to take out-of-town guests to the best place for pho.
These restaurants are our go-to places. They are the ones we turn to time and time again. Of course, we love trying new restaurants, but there’s something about the tried and true ones that are worth sharing. And it’s those that made up our list of the best restaurants in Asheville.
Map of Asheville Restaurants
Asheville restaurants worth visiting
And now onto our list of awesome restaurants in Asheville. You’ll find everything from our favorite place to take out-of-town visitors, the best spots for takeout, awesome bakeries and our top date night spots.
Charming spot for wine and charcuterie in Biltmore Village
Finch is new to the scene in Biltmore Village, but gosh they just fit in. I often say Provisions Mercantile is like a shop out of a Nancy Meyers movie. Well, Finch is the restaurant next door. I mean, they have lemon wallpaper!!!
Finch is a lovely spot to grab a sandwich or charcuterie board for snacking. They also have an espresso machine and make an awesome Levain-style cookie.
They have a small marketplace, too, so you can grab a bottle of wine, bag of coffee or a brand-forward bag of chips to go with your fare.
After trying Finch once, it officially became my go-to spot for where I want to take my mom, mother-in-law, sister, and girlfriends. They have great outdoor seating with happy music and excellent food. It’s a must for me!
Our favorite place to take out-of-town friends
We couldn’t leave Liberty House off of our go-to list! They are hands down one of our favorite restaurants in Asheville, especially when the weather is nice because they have awesome outdoor seating.
We bring pretty much everyone who is in town visiting us to Liberty. And we recommend it to pretty much everyone else. It’s the perfect neighborhood cafe! You’ll find a great coffee/espresso menu, a full bakery case and a daily brunch menu.
Speaking of the bakery case, we did a Q+A with their head baker Logan for our Asheville Insider Blog. It’s a fun read if you want to see how the locals live!
Sometimes we get the more breakfast-y things at Liberty like avocado toast or a breakfast sandwich, and other times we opt for a BLT or cobb salad. We always get a sourdough pancake for the table no matter what time of day it is, though!
I recommend Liberty to anyone and everyone. One thing to keep in mind is that they have a ton of outdoor space and limited indoor space. It’s best when the weather is good enough to sit outside. We like the garden area to the left of the building because our kids can roam around a bit. And on Sunday mornings you can catch live music in this area.
Amazing food in a gas station setting
That’s right, Sand Hill Kitchen is literally in a gas station in West Asheville. But they make a fantastic chicken sandwich, cheeseburger and even a beet sandwich. The magic of their chicken sandwich comes from a combination of herbed Duke’s mayo, homemade dilly pickles, a sprinkling of cheddar and a delicious bun. Their sides are all great too.
We recommend ordering online and grabbing from the pickup window for easy service! They also have a breakfast menu that is just as divine as lunch.
Catch them on our list of delicious sandwich shops in Asheville and make sure to actually go try one of their magical sandwiches.
4. OWL Bakery
Perfect pastries and coffee to start your morning
OWL Bakery is a wonderful neighborhood bake shop whipping up the most magical croissants and pastries. Their offerings are all a bit elevated— from a cardamom bun to an almond rose croissant. They also have cookies and great daily bread options and weekly specials.
Apart from excellent food, OWL has the best cup of coffee in Asheville. They brew Methodical Coffee out of Greenville and it’s amazing.
Two other things we love there: 1. their ham and cheese croissants (the perfect hiking snack!) and 2. their wheatless squirrel bread. This bread is packed with oats, psyllium, flax, chia and all manner of nuts and seeds. It’s so flavorful and delicious, as is everything on their menu.
OWL has two locations– the first in West Asheville and the second in North Asheville. Details are below on each!
A great spot in West Asheville for an intimate date night
Oh, Jargon. The perfect spot for an intimate date night. You’ll find fun decor hidden behind an unassuming exterior.
But that’s just the beginning. They also have a great outdoor courtyard with a few tables and bistro lights overhead. And the bathroom walls are made of Scrabble tiles!
Enough about the ambiance… let’s chat about the food! Jargon’s menu is seasonal and ever-changing, but you can always count on excellent food and presentation. Their steaks are always exceptional and we love their various salads and small plates.
Jargon’s cocktails need their own mention, too. They have a great cocktail menu– we especially love their Eat a Peach (thyme-infused Tito’s Vodka, St. Germain, peach shrub, lemon, bubbles) and the Ice Breaker (Knob Creek Bonded Bourbon, Tawny Port, demerara, orange bitters that comes *inside* a smoked ice ball).
Make sure to have a reservation! If you reserve early enough, you can opt to sit at the “Chef’s Counter”, which are bar seats where you can watch all of the action.
Asheville’s only food hall (and it’s a gem!)
S&W Market / Food Hall is such a cool place to eat in downtown Asheville. It’s a very kid-friendly place to eat in Asheville and is perfect for groups who are craving something different.
We love that everyone can get their own different type of food– I always get a chicken sandwich from Buxton Hall Chicken Palace, my husband always gets something from Bun Intended and our kids love hot dogs from Farm Dogs.
There’s also a Highland Brewing taproom location there as well as The Hop ice cream. Everyone is happy! S&W is on our top places to eat lunch in downtown Asheville and it’s also a great place for live music and other fun events.
The only downside about going to S&W is that you have to find parking downtown. Sometimes it’s a breeze and other times you have to drive around a bit or circle up and down a parking garage before you find something. It’s worth it for S&W, though!
Our go-to for awesome Asian food and 10/10 takeout
Now, before I wax poetic about my love for Gan Shan, I want to point out that we have a whole list of the best restaurants for takeout in Asheville. You can’t go wrong with any of the restaurants mentioned there.
But of every restaurant on that list, Gan Shan West keeps us back again and again and again.
Gan Shan West checks every box needed for us: easy online ordering, quick turnaround, text when it’s ready, a takeout window on the side and absolutely amazing food.
Our standard Gan Shan West order is the GSW Rice Bowl with Korean BBQ, pork and chive dumplings and gai lon.
Be warned that the food can be a bit spicy. The rice bowl is amazing but there are certain toppings on it that are spicy– and it all just kind of blends together so it’s hard to pull the spice out. It’s a little too much heat for our kids, but thankfully they love the pork and chive dumplings.
Can’t miss breakfast in Asheville (including the BEST bacon in town!)
No surprise here if you are either familiar with Asheville or our website. Our love for Sunny Point Café runs deep. But honestly, everyone’s does! You just can’t beat the menu, the casual atmosphere or the great garden that you are welcome to explore.
Their bacon is the absolute best in town and the carrot hotcakes with cardamom cream cheese is a must. Oh, and don’t miss their fried green tomatoes if that sounds like your type of dish!
Read our spotlight on Sunny Point Cafe if you want to know more. We also have a guide to Asheville’s breakfast and brunch with other great recommendations if you need more inspiration.
Our go-to place for the perfect brunch in Asheville
Vivian just checks all of my boxes for a fantastic Sunday brunch: delicious food, mimosas, their own blend of PennyCup coffee, patio seating, friendly service and a true local feel.
I love to start with a cup of coffee and either their cake donuts or sticky bun. And then I typically opt for their quiche with a mimosa. The perfect meal!
You can make reservations here for the dining room, covered patio or bar. And you can take a look at their brunch menu here.
We can highly recommend the deviled eggs, quiche, chicken biscuit, steak & eggs and the lamb benedict. But it’s definitely a place where you can’t go wrong!
Hidden gem cafe, coffee shop and bar in downtown Ashevil
Located inside the Citizen Times building, you’ll find Citizen Vinyl (record pressing + shop) and Session Café & Bar. Session is one our favorite restaurants for lunch in downtown Asheville.
They have a ton of seating inside along with an art shop, record shop and plant shop. There’s additional seating upstairs that is great for studying or getting some remote work done. And there’s also seating outside with a view of the Grove Arcade.
As far as food goes, everything is delicious and elevated. My favorite menu item is their egg salad sandwich made with soft-boiled eggs. It’s flawless and I am certain that no other egg salad sandwich can begin to compete.
‘Mind-blowing’ Indian food in a casual setting
Chai Pani is an Asheville restaurant that you have probably heard of, and for good reason: they won the James Beard Award for best overall restaurant in 2022. And wow is that a BIG DEAL.
Chai Pani is such a great restaurant all around– their food is excellent, the branding is on point and the casual atmosphere makes it approachable despite its success. Speaking of casual atmosphere, Chai Pani is actually a top kid-friendly restaurant in Asheville.
You can expect a wait at Chai Pani, but if you have the time it’s definitely worth it. They used to offer takeout but can no longer keep up with demand! For the shortest line possible, Chai Pani recommends dining with them on a Wednesday.
Amazing breakfast sandwiches in Asheville
Tiger Bay Café is one of our favorite places to get a breakfast sandwich in Asheville. Both their breakfast panini and breakfast bagel are wildly delicious.
Their food is always fresh, warm and delicious. And their menu has a ton of other great things if you aren’t feeling a breakfast sandwich.
Tiger Bay is a Black-owned business and is located inside BattleCat Coffee Bar in West Asheville. Plan to order your Tiger Bay breakfast before heading over there and then make sure to grab a coffee or other drink at BattleCat when you pick up your food.
13. Nine Mile
Laidback restaurant for Caribbean-inspired food (perfect for a casual date night)
Nine Mile is an Asheville gem! Their food is absolutely amazing with an upscale feel, but the atmosphere is more local neighborhood.
Nine Mile is a great spot for a fun date night. We definitely recommend starting with their Live and Give appetizer— tortilla chips served with queso, daily hummus, and your choice of salsa.
And then don’t miss their Mayfield Falls mahi mahi that comes with a creamy yet somehow dairy-free sauce.
Though Nine Mile has multiple locations around town (West AVL and South AVL), our favorite is the one in Montford. All locations have the same daily menu, though.
A great stop in downtown Asheville for coffee and dessert
Old Europe is pretty much a must-stop for me when I’m downtown. I love swinging by for a treat and an iced latte, and my boys love sharing a four-pack of their macarons.
Their pastry cases are always full of delicious goodies, they are open all day and they make an excellent latte. The perfect place!
You can typically expect a wait at Old Europe, but they are quick and… isn’t a long line a good sign!?
A must-try deli in Asheville
Old School Deli is one of the best sandwich shops in Asheville. They have awesome sandwiches and salads with the most perfect Greek salad dressing in the world.
We love their Turkey Philly sub with Santa Fe turkey, American cheese, banana peppers, onions, bacon and chipotle mayo. It’s got a great amount of spice and is so flavorful. Their Italian Sub is also fantastic and is topped with that sub dressing that I love.
As far as atmosphere goes, it’s not the fanciest place but more like a regular sub shop. No complaints here!
Awesome all-day taco shop with outdoor seating
Taco Billy is such a great place to get tacos in Asheville! Their food is super flavorful, they have great salsa, guacamole and queso and awesome margaritas. It’s a casual spot and you can eat it there or order online for takeout.
Our favorite taco is the traditional grandberry (ground beef, lettuce, tomato, cheese, guacamole) but we also really like their Morita chili-stewed pork taco and the vegan sweet potato taco Support Group.
They also have the best breakfast tacos in town!
17. Luella’s Bar-B-Que
Local BBQ joint with awesome pulled pork and mac & cheese
There are so many great spots for BBQ in Asheville and they all stand out for different reasons. If you are looking for the best ribs, 12 Bones is our recommendation. But they aren’t open for dinner! Best mac and cheese? Luella’s all the way. Want a nicer night out with BBQ options? Buxton Hall BBQ is your place!
Both locations have fantastic online ordering, which is what got them on our best takeout restaurants list.
But our number one recommendation for BBQ… not so easy! After thinking about all of the options, we are going with Luella’s on Merrimon as the ultimate BBQ restaurant in Asheville.
They have an excellent menu, awesome pulled pork, the best mac and cheese in town and an authentic NC BBQ joint feel.
Luella’s has a second location in South Asheville at Biltmore Park Town Square. It’s really nice inside but it doesn’t have the BBQ joint feel. That’s not to say their food isn’t great, though!! But it feels a bit more like a chain compared to their original location in North Asheville.
18. 12 Bones Smokehouse
The best place for ribs in Asheville
Hands down, 12 Bones Smokehouse is the perfect destination for amazing ribs in in Asheville. They have several varieties to choose from and all are fall-off-the-bone good.
12 Bones has two locations in Asheville. The first is in the Foundy Street area of the River Arts District. It’s next to Wedge Brewing and we can confirm that these two make a great combination. There isn’t any indoor seating at this 12 Bones, but there is plenty of seating out front and also around the side at Wedge.
Their second location is in South Asheville and it also serves as the location for 12 Bones Brewing. You’ll find indoor and outdoor seating here.
Perfect casual spot for burgers in Asheville
Baby Bull is a burger spot in the River Arts District that our whole family loves. Their menu is simple but delicious, with the star of the show being their burger.
You may be familiar with their more-upscale sister restaurant Bull and Beggar, also in the River Arts District. The famous Baby Bull burger actually originated there and drew crowds large enough to justify a dedicated burger shop.
My go-to at Baby Bull is their double cheeseburger with a side of french fries. It either comes all the way or, if you prefer, with everything on the side. We have tried everything on the menu (there are only about 5 things total!) and all are great, though the burger definitely wins out.
Baby Bull is an order-at-the-counter restaurant with picnic tables out front and seating inside. It’s on our favorite list because it’s just as good for a night out sans kids as it is for a lunch with them.
Speaking of dining with kids, Baby Bull is next to train tracks and, as a result, is one of our kids’ favorite spots to eat. We even mentioned them on our best places to eat with kids in Asheville list. Great food and great trains.
Great pizza with an Asheville foodie feel and outdoor seating
All Souls is not a typical pizza parlor, but instead it’s an Asheville restaurant that specializes in pizza. I hear myself– it’s nonsense. Unless you have been and then you know.
We love the casual outdoor seating at All Souls and they have easy online ordering if you prefer to pick up. In fact, All Souls Pizza is on our best takeout in Asheville list.
You’ll find great pizza options, with classics like pepperoni and sausage, fun options like a squash pizza and creative seasonal specials. If they have the honey pizza (pepperoni, tomato sauce, banana peppers, mozzarella, local honey) on the menu, try it! We also really like their salads, especially the bibb salad.
21. Vinnie’s Neighborhood Italian
You’ll feel like family at this Italian restaurant in Asheville
Mamma Mia, do we love Vinnie’s for Italian food! For mushroom lovers, head straight for the penne al funghi on the menu. It is incredible. As is their chicken parm and lasagna. And everything else, as you can imagine.
Vinnie’s has an old-school Italian feel with delicious recipes and an unmatched feeling that you are a part of the family.
What’s great is that there are locations in North Asheville and South Asheville. Their original location is in North AVL on Merrimon and they opened the second location in 2021. Both are great for dining in or you can order online for takeout.
Vinnie’s is on our best takeout restaurants in Asheville list.
Our go-to Asheville restaurant for Japanese food
It’s a bit out of town but, wow, is it worth the drive. Murasaki is newer to the scene and located in South Asheville. Our kids love their pork gyoza, miso soup and edamame. I typically order hibachi chicken for the family as well as a few sushi rolls.
As far as their sushi menu goes, you’ll find sushimi, traditional rolls, signature rolls and veggie rolls. Their signature rolls list is extensive and has something for everyone.
We also really like their spicy dynamite shrimp appetizer. The spice level was pretty tame the first few times we got it and our son fell in love with it. The last time, though, it was a bit too spicy for him. It was perfect for me, though! 🙂
Murasaki’s food is always phenomenal. It’s more of a splurge dinner for us cost-wise, but I think you get what you pay for. And because of that, it’s easy to see why Murasaki is one of our favorite restaurants in Asheville.
We have only gotten to-go food from Murasaki, but the interior is really nice and has an upscale feel. It’d be great for a date night! If you are wanting to take it to go, though, you can order online here.
Fresh, authentic and delicious Lebanese food
Another great Asheville restaurant with incredible food, easy online ordering and quick turnaround is Gypsy Queen Cuisine in West Asheville.
We love Gypsy Queen’s chicken shawarma, Baba Ghanouj and lamb kafta. The kafta is perfectly spiced with a subtle fresh mint flavor. Our kids love it as much as we do.
And you can’t miss the fried cauliflower and fried brussels sprouts at Gypsy Queen. They even have an option where you can get half of each. The sprouts and cauliflower are fried, tossed in toom and lemon tahini sauce and topped with parsley. Absolutely amazing and always a must-order for us.
If you are feeding a group, check out Gypsy Queen’s family-style options. The lamb kafta (6 pieces) is always delicious and it comes with pita and hummus.
Awesome local pizza spot in West Asheville
Pizza Mind definitely belongs on the list of restaurants in Asheville that I won’t stop raving about. I cannot get enough of their Caesar salad or their pizza, specifically their Big Mac-inspired pizza the Happy Wheel. It comes topped with lettuce, pickles and a special sauce, with cheddar and hamburger under the toppings.
Pizza Mind’s crust is always perfect and the vibe is really laid back. It’s right next to Gan Shan West and Archetype Brewing in West Asheville. Archetype doesn’t have food service but you can get either spot next it to go and eat it on the rooftop. Try the Happy Wheel pizza!!
The best place for pho in Asheville
Wild Ginger has the best pho in Asheville. It’s not even really a secret anymore. If you want pho, head to Wild Ginger in South Asheville!
As far their pho goes, Wild Ginger has a house special with a variety of meat, seafood pho, beef pho (with multiple styles available), chicken pho and plain noodle soup. We typically get the chicken pho and the beef pho with medium rare eye round steak.
Apart from pho, you’ll also find other great menu items like Vietnamese egg rolls, wings, Banh Mi, Yakisoba noodles, miso glazed salmon and lemongrass beef satay. I really love their vermicelli rice noodle salad.
It’s kind of a small space, so you may have a bit of wait (especially when it’s cold out and everyone wants warm food.) But once you are seated the food will come pretty quick. Though it’s in a strip mall, it’s actually a really cozy place and perfect for a date night.
If you don’t want to dine in, you can call in a to-go order. Their menu is online and they fill a ton of to-go orders. You won’t be sorry!
Asheville’s darling and James Beard Award winner
Cúrate is the restaurant to dine at in Asheville, but for good reason. They have a delightful menu full of Spanish tapas (I can’t pronounce anything…) and absolutely perfect ambiance. And they won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Hospitality in 2022, so there’s also that…
At this point, Cúrate is essentially Asheville’s flagship restaurant.
And just around the corner from it is another one in their portfolio– La Bodega by Cúrate. You can dine in the upstairs wine bar at La Bodega, downstairs with counter service or just something to go from their marketplace.
Cúrate is a great destination for a date night in Asheville, though going with a larger group is also fun because you can try more.
Amazing vegan restaurant in Asheville
Over 90% of Plant’s ingredients are organic, with a priority on local products. Though their menu changes, you can always count on something wonderful. We are still talking about a mushroom ravioli dish from our last visit. The cheese plate is also such a fun experience and it’s truly shocking that it’s all vegan!
Most of the items on their menu are gluten-free and they even let you know which menu items can be made gluten-free (and which can’t.) Oh and the dessert– can’t miss! Everything on Plant’s dessert menu is a delight.
You’ll find a cocktail menu, beer menu and non-alcoholic menu featuring house pineapple-ginger soda, basil-lime soda coffee and tea.
There is seating inside with an open kitchen and bar as well as a covered seasonal patio. We love eating outside when weather allows!
Our go-to brewery in Asheville
There are so many awesome breweries in Asheville, but our go-to is Burial Beer Co. in South Slope. We love the variety of their beer menu, their awesome food made in-house and the great beer garden-style seating.
We are choosing them for this list because Burial just feels very ‘Asheville‘ to us and is loved by locals and visitors alike.
We consider Burial to be a kid-friendly brewery in Asheville, though there aren’t fields to run in or actual activities for kids like other breweries. There are old cars scattered about for kids to explore, though.
You can read more about Burial in South Slope in our spotlight here.
Amazing donuts in South Slope (and most are vegan!)
Vortex Doughnuts may be one of my top favorite places in Asheville. Even though we love all of Asheville’s donut shops, Vortex is our go-to because their donuts are not only amazing, but they also have seating inside and great coffee.
Vortex’s flavor changes weekly, but you can always count on a few classics (like an old-fashioned donut, apple fritters, and their Vortex donut with cinnamon, sugar and chocolate.) And then the specials… wow.
Vortex makes every flavor in two types of dough— one is yeast dough and the other is a denser cake dough. I personally prefer the airier yeast and my kids prefer the cake donuts. Both are great, though!
The other great thing about Vortex is that most of their donuts are vegan. It’s easier for them to label which ones are not vegan if that says anything. And you’ll pretty much know which aren’t based on flavors– most of the non-vegan ones have cream cheese.
A must-visit if you love delicious pie and the smell of butter
Baked Pie Company is the only dedicated pie shop in Asheville and boy is it a good one. They have a wide variety of pies, with everything from their best-selling honey pecan pie to the most indulgent cream pies. We absolutely love their cherry crumb and tres leches pies, though you most definitely cannot go wrong.
Our favorite menu item at Baked, though, is their pie flight! Choose three pieces of pie from their bakery case and pair them with either chocolate or vanilla ice cream. The flights are served on a cute serving platter and it makes for such a fun day out. Our kids especially love it, which is why we listed it on our fun things to do with kids in Asheville list.
Read more about Baked in our article about the best pie in Asheville.
Delicious sushi in downtown Asheville
Wasabi is such a great spot for sushi, whether you are dining in or taking it to go. You’ll find all of the Japanese classics we know and love (hibachi, teriyaki, noodles, gyoza…) and a great sushi menu.
We typically switch up our sushi order each time, though we always get their coconut scallops and wasabi shrimp appetizers. For sushi, expect everything to be fresh, delicious and beautiful. And good luck deciding what to order– so many fun and creative options!
You can order takeout from Wasabi here. If you are picking up, there are two 10-minute curbside spots right out front that are typically available.
The best of Asheville’s coffee craft
Rowan Coffee in downtown Asheville is not only the most beautiful coffee shop in town, but they have such a clear dedication to the craft, too. They typically have three different varieties for pour overs as well as a full espresso menu. Rowan Coffee recently started roasting their own as well, so hopefully this is just the beginning for them!
It’s a great place to escape, whether you are working remotely, enjoying a novel or maybe writing your own. They have pastries from The Rhu and Back Porch Baking Co.
We hope you loved this list of our favorite restaurants in Asheville! It was really fun to put together and will hopefully provide you with a couple of new spots to try.